RALEIGH - House Bill 17 was due to go into effect on Sunday, which would move more power to the incoming Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction. But now, a Superior Court judge says not so fast, issuing a temporary restraining order on the new law.
The State Board of Education met last week with concerns over House Bill 17 which Governor McCrory signed into law following our state's fifth special session. State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey said then, "The General Assembly passed House Bill 17 which attempts to diminish the boards constitutional authority." The measure shifts power from the Governor and Board to the incoming superintendent. The Board of Education filed a lawsuit against HB17 on Wednesday and the group was in court Thursday when the restraining order was issued.
But not everyone is pleased Lt. Governor Dan Forest said in a statement, "The State Board of Education, the General Assembly, and our incoming Superintendent of Public Instruction want to see a better education for each child in North Carolina. The result of yesterday's decision to take this dispute to court is to make these relationships unnecessarily adversarial rather than working together to do what is best for North Carolina's students. I opposed the bringing of a lawsuit and will continue to work to see that this issue is resolved how it should be -- through collaboration among those of us with the same goals, rather than by a panel of judges."
Incoming Governor-elect Roy Cooper has been vocal on shift of powers and even assured legal action if need. He's previously said, "If I believe that laws passed by the legislature hurt working families and are unconstitutional, they will see me in court and they don't have a very good track record there."
HB17 allows the Superintendent more authority to dismiss senior level employees, flexibility in managing the state education budget, and control of the office of Charter schools. The judge is calling both sides back to court on January 6 and the law will be blocked from taking effect until then.